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Geriatric Nurses

History

The specialty of gerontology nursing started developing in the 20th century as people routinely began to live longer than in past generations. Healthier lifestyles, new medicines, and new medical procedures, among other things, contributed to this change in life span. And as more and more people lived longer, a growing number needed and wanted the professional expertise of a health care professional educated in their needs and concerns. Geriatric nurses are able to address the special health problems older people may face, such as serious chronic problems (heart disease or blood pressure illness), decreases in senses and physical agility (sight, hearing, balance) that lead to injuries from accidents, and the problems that may result from accidents (learning to walk again after a broken hip).

The Administration on Aging reports that in 2000, the senior population (those 65 and over) was approximately 35 million. It predicts that figure will rise steadily and projects the number of seniors in 2030 to be more than 72.7 million. Clearly, health care services for those in their "golden years" will continue to be a growing field.

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